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Home Weekly Bulletin Weekly Bulletin 14/8 - 20/8

Weekly Bulletin 14/8 - 20/8

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Chinese vessels, militia spotted off Thi Tu Island; Thai Navy confirms US missiles purchase; Vietnam responds to information of purchasing cruise missiles from India…

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Activities of Related Parties

China

China military criticizes 'wrong' U.S. moves on Taiwan, South China Sea

During a meeting with Joseph Dunford, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Fan Changlong, a vice chairman of China’s powerful Central Military Commission said mutual trust mechanisms between the two militaries had continued to improve. “But wrong actions on the Taiwan issue, the United States deploying the THAAD system around China, U.S. ships and aircraft’s activities in the South China Sea, the United States close-in surveillance in the sea and air near China have had a large, negative influence on bilateral military ties and mutual trust,” Fan added.

Vietnam

Vietnam responds to information of purchasing cruise missiles from India

According to WorldTribune, Vietnam will receive the BrahMos which is considered one of the most effective and lethal anti-ship missiles in the world, with speeds reaching Mach 2.8 to 3.0. Replying the question of reporter about this information, Hang said, India – Vietnam relationship developed in numerous areas including economy, society and security cooperation. Especially in Security cooperation, two sides contributed positively to the peace, sustainability in region and over the world. “Vietnam and India maintained the self-defend and peaceful policy. The weapon purchase is normal action and in line with Vietnam national defense policy”, Hang added.

Chinese vessels, militia spotted off Thi Tu Island

In a press conference on August 15/8, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said said he had sources who told him of a “suspicious massing up of Chinese Navy and Coast Guard and maritime militia north of Pag-asa Island (Thi Tu Island) , a threat to our interest in West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).” “I received information from my sources in the military, stating that since 3 days ago, China has deployed 2 frigates, 1 Coast Guard vessel, and 2 large fishing vessels, with their maritime militia, 1-3 nautical miles north of Pag-asa Island (Thi Tu Island),” Alejano said. Alejano said he also received a report that two days ago, a Philippine government vessel from the Bureau of Fishers and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) was prevented by Chinese fishing vessels from going near the Thi Tu Island. On that information, Spokesmen for the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Armed Forces of the Philippines said they would check Alejano’s information.  “Sorry, the Department of Foreign Affairs is the only authorized agency to issue a statement on matters regarding the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea)”. “Allow us to validate the information. We defer to issue any comment until we get the whole picture of the current situation,” Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP Public Affairs Office chief, said. According to Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, the alleged presence of Chinese vessels near the Pag-asa Island (Thi Tu Island) should not necessarily cause alarm or concern to the Philippine government. "The presence of ships alone does not mean anything," he added. Cayetano noted that the concern about the presence of vessels near the island may have been brought about by the notion that China is an "enemy." Cayetano assured that the situation was "very stable" in the area where the Chinese vessels had been deployed.

Philippines weighs China energy deal in disputed South China Sea

Speaking at a House of Representatives hearing on August 15, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the Philippines is considering potential ways to jointly develop oil and gas resources in the South China Sea with China. However, any joint ventures would conform to Philippine law and wouldn't lead to the loss of Philippine territory. "If we can come up with a commercial deal better than Malampaya in the disputed areas, how can any Filipino argue with that?" Cayetano said. He was referring to the country's largest gas field, which is set to run out of supply in 2024. Cayetano on August 17 added President Duterte wants the country to enter into joint exploration with China in both disputed and undisputed areas in the South China Sea. He said that he has already asked for the help of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and his lawyers to draft such legal framework. Also on August 17, Philippine Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said: “The President is open to possible cooperation with foreign entities in exploring and extracting mineral and gas resources in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea)”. Abella, however, said that any exploration must not violate the Constitution.

Regional Snapshots

Thai Navy confirms US missiles purchase

The Royal Thai Navy has admitted it has agreed to buy a number of cruise missiles from the United States, but denies the prime minister or defence minister were involved as the purchase is part of a previously agreed contract. It said the deal is not new but part of a frigate-building contract made with South Korea three years ago.

Vietnam Thailand stresses freedom of navigation on the South China Sea

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc paid an official visit to Thailand from 17 to 19 August 2017 at the invitation of His Excellency General (Ret.) Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand. The Joint Statement read: “The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, security and stability, as well as safety and freedom of navigation in and over-flight above the South China Sea/East Sea, which are in the interest of all countries within and outside the region, as it is a fundamental condition for growth, development and prosperity.”

Chinese, Thai air forces to conduct joint training

Six aircraft of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) air force arrived at an air base in Thailand for a joint training exercise with the Thai air force from August 17  to September 3. The training, the second of its kind, is expected to test their combat tactics and weaponry, and to improve their actual combat training, according to the PLA air force. The first joint training of the two air forces took place in Thailand in November 2015.

US, Japan opposes unilateral coercive actions at sea

The U.S. and Japan concluded the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee on August 17. The Joint Statement read: “The Ministers expressed serious concern about the situation in the South China Sea and reaffirmed their opposition to unilateral coercive actions by claimants, including the reclamation and militarization of disputed features, that alter the status quo and increase tensions. The Ministers underlined the significance of continued engagement in the South China Sea, including through respective activities to support freedom of navigation, bilateral and multilateral training and exercises, and coordinated capacity building assistance.”


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